How to Become an Effective, Influential & Successful Leader

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on how to rule a country or even the world, then, unfortunately, you have arrived in the wrong place, but if you have dedicated, or are indeed about to dedicate, your professional life to becoming a successful manager and leader, then continue reading.

A manager who is trusted by their employees and senior executives above them in the hierarchical structure of their company is an individual who consistently and diligently works to improve their skills in leadership.

Here, to help you on your way to becoming an effective, influential and successful leader is a guide to doing just that.

Always Give the Benefit of the Doubt

Up to a point. Just in ensuring the core functions of your business model are operating on an efficient and productive level on a daily basis can take up the majority of your time as a leader, so when you add a huge number of employees as well, it is important to trust them.

Obviously, there are a number of exceptions when it comes to certain behavior and actions of individual employees, which should automatically result in disciplinary action and, in some rarer cases, instant dismissal.

However, as a general rule of thumb, once a new employee has gone through the rigorous process of training and induction into your company, you should always give them the benefit of the doubt until the time that if/when they give you real cause to distrust them.

Choosing to trust your employees will result in plenty of fabulous advantages to your position as a leader within the company, including improved relationships with your employees, being seen as a reasonable manager, making the most of opportunities you would have otherwise lost out on, and becoming more understanding.

Always Give Credit Where Credit is Due

One of the most powerful, fundamental tools a manager has in their proverbial arsenal is appreciation and praise, which cost absolutely nothing in time or money yet are incredibly effective and meaningful for employees.

Focusing on praise and appreciation will result in the ability to instinctively see when an employee is looking for special recognition and indeed whether or not they deserve it. When there is a particular project with a looming deadline, appreciation can be an exceedingly effective tool, and praise will also strengthen the professional bond between colleagues.

In addition, praising an individual employee or an entire department can have other positive effects and benefits, such as an overall boost in motivation and morale, a reinforcement of positive action and behavior, and even an increase in both oxytocin and dopamine.

Conversely, when an employee needs to be reprimanded or even given a more negative review and assessment, it is important to do so in the privacy of a personal, one-to-one meeting with the employee in question.

Always Boost Your Own Field of Expertise

As well as being the proverbial font of all knowledge for your employees, an excellent leader will also realize that there is always much more to learn, not only within their specific company’s sector but within the world of business in general.

Rules and regulations, legalities, as well as new and innovative technologies and computer software, are constantly being introduced to business and business management, and it is important that you keep up to date on such changes and innovations.

There are a multitude of ways in which a leader can improve their core knowledge base, including the following:

  • Engaging in extracurricular research
  • Taking short leadership courses online
  • Speaking to other managers in similar companies
  • Attending professional networking events
  • Booking a place for various lectures relating to your field of work

The most effective and impressively influential way of boosting your own field of expertise, however, is to successfully acquire a challenging yet intensely rewarding MBA in Executive Leadership. Furthermore, if you choose to study with a prestigious and established online university, you can more easily work your degree around your current professional and personal responsibilities.

Always Resist the Urge to Micro-Manage

As a leader, you will probably often find yourself in the position whereby you have delegated an important task with a looming deadline to a valued and trusted employee and now have to step back and trust them to complete the task on time and to their best ability.

If you cannot control your desire to visit them physically or else send regular e-mails trying to casually enquire about their progress and whether or not they need help, you may well be what is generally and colloquially referred to as a micro-manager.

Other signs of a leader who has become more of a micro-manager include an automatic resistance to delegating, discouraging others from speaking up about their own opinions or shutting them down if they do, and correcting small details in less important pieces of work.

Fortunately, if this does indeed sound like you, then there are various tried and tested ways to stop your negative micro-managing behavior, which include, to name just a few:

  • Speaking to trusted employees to see how they prefer to be lead
  • Being as transparent as possible
  • Handing out more responsible tasks than before
  • Work on managing the culture of each project
  • Create an ethos of facilitation rather than preaching

Although micro-managing is often brushed off as an amusing characteristic of a leader by team members, it can have heavily negative effects on the efficiency and productivity of your team, as well as a negative impact on morale.

Always Show Your Presence

Frankly, even though this is highly unlikely, theoretically, your employees on the office floor, for example, could be browsing their social media platforms, taking numerous coffee and cigarette breaks, and generally shirking from their work, either sometimes or perhaps regularly.

After a time, naturally, this will become apparent, but the best way to ensure every member of your team is working to their full potential (within reason, of course) is to show your presence physically.

As a leader, regardless of the arena in which you operate, you will obviously usually be balancing a multitude of different tasks and projects at the same time. However, making sure you take the time to show your face in and around the office, shop floor, or area in which the people you lead are working, you will be rewarded with plenty of benefits.

A leader who is frequently physically present will be able to spot potential issues quickly, interpret more subtle and nonverbal behaviors, and be afforded fresh perspectives and opinions, rather than feeling stagnant and stumped alone.

Always Champion Employees Who Show Potential

A good leader who strives to get the best out of each and every individual on their team is always looking for stand-out stars or at least individuals who show a great deal of potential and appear as if their numerous talents are currently being underused.

A present, empathetic and supportive leader can be a huge influence and catalyst to the success of another’s career, and quite obviously, encouraging and mentoring others will not only improve their own performance but make them valued and want to stay in your team.

Championing employees who show potential is a lot simpler as it may seem and can be achieved by one or more of the following methods:

  • Not taking overall credit for a task
  • Only setting realistic targets
  • Taking employee concerns to the next level
  • Boasting about employee’s achievement
  • Always remembering their failures as well as achievements

Depending on the nature of your leadership role and indeed the size of your team, it may also be a viable option to hire a dedicated employee, or workplace, champion.

Employee champions are solely responsible for the improvement of a certain core business function or sector of a business and need to be highly engaging, self-motivated, and enthusiastic individuals.

Always Keep Your Emotions in Check

Finally, one of the most important things to remember when wanting to improve and enhance the effectiveness, success, and overall levels of influence you have over the people you lead is that it is absolutely crucial to always strive to keep your emotions in check.

Having a much-enhanced level of control over your automatic reactions and instinctual emotions to a specific situation or, indeed, when learning about a failure or inappropriate behavior of a member of your team is something you should work on.

Instead of instantly reacting to a situation when it is presented to you, you should take a deep breath and a personal moment to collect your thoughts and to consider your options. Your response will then be more educated and wholly more effective.

Other ways to develop a much better level of control over your emotions and reactions as a leader include focusing on the things you can control over things that you cannot, being self-assured enough to know that you are able to handle anything that is thrown at you and working out what is most important at the moment.

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